Professor Colin Blakemore honoured 10 years after being denied knighthood
Saturday 14 June 2014
A decade after apparently being snubbed by the Establishment for supporting experiments on animals, Professor Colin Blakemore has finally been given his knighthood.
In December 2003, Professor Blakemore discovered that he had been denied the normally automatic knighthood granted to the chief executive of the Medical Research Council (MRC). He threatened to resign as leaked Government documents suggested the snub was due to his high-profile association with animal experiments – an association that had already seen him face abusive protests outside his house, letters laced with razor blades and threats to kidnap his children.
Only a parliamentary inquiry persuaded him to withdraw his resignation threat.
A knighthood continued to elude him, however, and when Professor Blakemore eventually stepped down in 2007, it was as the first chief executive of the MRC to leave office without the honour.
But the neuroscientist has been pleasantly surprised to be knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Professor Blakemore, 70, who is now the director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London, said: “This is the cream on the cake – final evidence that things have changed right to the top of society. In many ways I’m surprised. Attitudes have changed enormously over the years and the sort of stance I and others took is now much more recognised and seen much more positively. But it was still difficult to believe that opinions could reverse in this way.”
He said when he threatened to resign 10 years ago it was not out of “pique”, but because his work was threatened.
“I felt my effectiveness was being undermined. It became clear that people who were willing to get involved in controversial issues could be persecuted in secret. I found that disturbing.”
Explaining why he refused to be silenced by animal rights extremists, he said: “Giving in would have made that kind of campaign more effective.”
The knighthood was welcomed by Professor David Nutt, who was himself dismissed as the Government’s chief drug adviser after claiming that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.
Professor Nutt, of Imperial College London, said: “Colin has shown a unique ability to combine innovation and intellectual honesty. The scientific community will welcome this long-overdue recognition.”
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...